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Heed the Warning Signs

By Scott Presson
Staff Writer - When I was a young adult and newly married, my wife and I bought the house directly behind my grandparent’s house. My grandmother had lived through the lean years of the Great Depression, and every year she planted a huge garden. She wanted to be ready “just in case” it ever happened again. She knew how it felt to go hungry.

Her garden was beautiful. She pulled any weed she saw, and most evenings she watered. I wanted to learn about gardening, and she was more than willing to teach me.

One summer evening while we were quietly pulling weeds she looked up at me very intently. She began to talk to me as an adult--not as her grandson. She told me God had given her a dream about me. I was intrigued and a little scared. My grandmother talked about the Lord all the time but not about dreams. She told me she saw a tremendous storm come and sweep me up into it. I was taken from my family, and I would never be with them again. The dream frightened me because I was in a huge storm! Satan had targeted me with an assault on my family. My grandmother didn’t know what was happening in my life, and I was afraid to tell her--or anyone. Especially other Christians. I was sure they would judge me.

That dream came true. In a matter of months I had lost my family, my home, my job, and nearly my life. I became angry and self-destructive. I hated God. I hated God out-loud, not just in my thoughts. I told Him to leave me alone. I no longer desired to live for Him. I couldn’t figure out how a God that gave me fair warning about an approaching disaster would also allow all the mess to happen in the first place.

Was it God’s will that I lose everything dear to me? Was it God’s will that I spent months in anger and denial? Was it God’s will for me to be hateful, resentful, and even murderous? Of course not! I made the initial wrong choices and then through lack of spiritual attentiveness I allowed my relationship with God to falter. I began to look at things with my natural eyes instead of my spiritual eyes. I fell out of daily Bible reading. Instead of attempting to “pray without ceasing,” I prayed sporadically, then not at all.

I now know that God was warning me to reevaluate my walk with Him and make things right. I realize he was calling me to repentance.

Our relationship with Christ should be like a well-tended garden. We have to maintain a daily regiment of weeding and watering in that garden. The Bible talks about how a man’s heart rages against God for his own mistakes. As Christians we have to take stock every day of our relationship with God. We can’t allow roots of bitterness to grow--even bitterness against God. We have to keep short accounts with God. We have to confess our wrongdoings quickly. God sees everything we do anyway, so don’t act like it will go away if we ignore it.

I know some Christians that are angry with other Christians over real and imagined issues. We wouldn’t want to judged by the same standard we’ve applied to others. Forgiveness is freely given and freely received. Who are we and what does it say about us as Christians when we can’t even offer the free gift of forgiveness to others! We got it free from God and we CANNOT put a price on it to others. That is not our right. If fact when we do that, it nullifies what Jesus did for us. Why? Because by our actions we are saying God’s Word is not relevant. We have judged and declared our will above God’s. The Bible commands us to love one another. The Bible says Love holds no record of wrongs or disappointments.

Throughout the years, I’ve had several gardens and one thing I’ve learned is, without regular watering and weeding all gardens will die. God wants us to reevaluate our lives with Him today. We need to take stock and see if our relationship with Him is vibrant and healthy. Some days I still struggle with getting up and entering in with God, but I remember a time so desolate that I never want to go back there. Don’t be swept up in the storms of life. Heed the warning signs. Take your spiritual temperature. Don’t allow the weeds of life to choke out what God is doing for you! Don’t judge others. Encourage those around you who are struggling. Forgive everyone. Forgive yourself. Repent of EVERYTHING that separates you from God,and be refreshed by the living waters that only a relationship with Jesus can offer.


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